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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY:   A little less intuitive

© Another Day in the Country

We were coming back from Lindsborg this past weekend. They were having an open studio day featuring artists in their community and we had been visiting with one of their resident artists, our dear friend Phyl.

Driving the back road, enjoying the countryside bathed in clouds, Jess and I were listening to the radio. They were discussing new and unusual gifts for Christmas — we had just landed in December, after all.

“Now this fryer is a little less expensive,” said the reporter, “but it makes a lovely gift, under $75. This model is, however, a little less intuitive…”

“Intuitive?” My sister was paying more attention to the radio than I’d thought. Her voice was raised. “Intuitive? I know women who are married to men that aren’t intuitive in the slightest and now we are expecting it out of a deep fryer?”

I was chuckling and no longer listening to the commentary on the radio.

“I don’t need a cooking utensil to THINK,” she went on, “I just need it to FRY!”

Which, of course, got me to thinking about all the pieces of equipment that we have these days that are attempting to think for us.

My daughter has a watch that counts her steps, of all things. And, it beeps at her if she is inactive for what it considers to be “too long,” Fat chance, because she is always on the go!

You’ve heard me complain before about my car that tries to think for me. One time, it even shut down because it deemed itself in such dire trouble and I was ONE BLOCK from the repair shop.

“Well, Smartie, now you’ve really done it!” I grumbled. “One block! Tell me how smart that is.”

The phone wants me to talk to it. “Voice Activation Requested,” comes up on my screen if I hesitate too long or have to re-spell a word. That sets me to mumbling again. “No, I don’t want voice activation — you are already trying to think ahead of me and you put in the wrong word.”

My daughter was given an Alexa last Christmas. It’s a black, rather stylish looking cylinder, that sits on a bookcase. “She,” Alexa, a female voice, is supposed to be “helpful” in that she “knows” things. So far, the only useful thing she does is tell you the weather forecast, IF she understands correctly.

Personally, she makes me uneasy. Sometimes she thinks you are talking to her when you are not and suddenly the little device springs to life.

“Really?” it gives me the shivers. “Now we have talking, listening, cylinders in our homes?”

I’d settle for a talking person, any old day. They are infinitely more interesting.

“But she’s really useful,” my grandson chimes in, always the one to defend.

“Alexa, what day is this?” he asks and Alexa proceeds to elaborate, which I tell him is too simple of a request.

I’ll settle for a calendar to tell me the date and I actually resent the idea of being bossed around by a watch.

I haven’t tried out those new fangled “air” fryers but I’m sure if I had one, I’d probably be talking to it when there is no one else in the house.

The kind of intuition that I long for can only come from people — good, kind, loving, thoughtful, friendly people, who actually look you in the eye and listen. The kind of person, who sits still for a minute and smiles or even cries when you recite a sad story because they are listening, not only to your words, but to your heart.

I don’t even want any mad scientist to invent a substitute for caring — we already have plenty of that around. We have a load of connectors with our computers that send instant messages, smart phones that can reach across the miles in a minute, and iPads that tell us that we’ve ordered something before and “would you like to reorder?” also our answering machines that give nine options to press and never hear a real human voice.

It’s the Christmas season and people are thinking about gift giving. Let me tell you from experience, “The best gift you can give anyone you love is your PRESENCE.”

Nothing is quite as sweet as a hug. Nothing more surprising than someone actually looking into your eyes as you speak to them. Nothing more memorable than to see you, in person, on another day in the country.

Last modified Dec. 6, 2018

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